We have been having a lively discussion about Independent Body Parts (IBP) on an erotica listserv. What is an independent body part? It’s when your hand or cock or mouth, etc. move on their own. For example:
- Her cock demanded that I pay attention; it was relentless and deliciously cruel, and I loved it.
- His cunt grabbed my hand as he begged me to just stay still for a moment and let him feel, it was so fucking good to finally have my whole hand inside him.
- Hir hands reached for anything solid that ze could hold onto as ze processed the pain from my quirt.
The discussion made me think about my own work, where independent body parts appear in it, and why. In erotic romance, IBP is frowned upon, partly from a history of misuse and overuse. But in erotica, I’ve had some success using it, and have not heard a peep from editors about it.
(Side note: As a leatherqueer, and boot fetishist I think of boots as connected to and part of the bodies of the leatherfolk that wear them, so some of my examples include things like boots with independent movement.)
As a heads up, what follows includes examples of cocksucking, ambivalent consent, group sex, leatherworship and bootplay, rough sex, pain play, breath play, and objectification.
I used IBP a lot in “Nervous Boy”, first printed in Love at First Sting, which centers on a submissive transguy who is ambivalent about his desire, and a transguy top who grapples with his own ambivalence, and pushes for the boy’s active consent.
This is when the characters meet:
“He catches a glimpse of my eyes as I glance up in his direction. Unbidden, an image fills his head, my eyes looking down at him as I force his head down onto my cock. He tries to shake it off, but it keeps coming.
It’s this image that motivates his boots to cross the floor to me without his full permission. I have paused in my writing to watch the floor by my feet, checking for a nervous boy’s approach. Which is a good thing, otherwise I would not have heard the throaty tentative, “Sir?” And who knows if he would have the guts to repeat it.”
And another example from the first section of the story:
“My gloved hand moves steadily toward his face, knowing his eyes are mesmerized by it. It rests briefly against his cheek, and he breathes the scent of leather before he feels it grip him, thumb stroking his throat as the gloved hand presses against the back of his neck.
His heart leaps to his throat and I can feel it race against my thumb. It’s not fair, his mind screams. He wordlessly drops to his knees and looks up.
There is nothing like the first sight of a boy on his knees. I rake over him with my eyes, taking my time. My thumb strokes the pulse of his throat, claiming him. He is mine, under my hand, in my care, if only for the duration of this scene, he is mine.”
IBP is a tool I used throughout the first part of the story, to deliberately communicate internal conflict, particularly on the bottom’s part, which is the center of that half of the tale, and is transformed into internal clarity in the middle of the story, in this moment, which is where the language begins to shift:
“I thrust deep, watching his eyes, and the truth washes into him and over him through his throat and his ears, and his eyes spill over as that raw place inside him is opened, and filled with my cock and his desire and my cruelty and his tears and my relentless tenderness.
He is sobbing around my cock as I ruthlessly fuck his throat. The sight of his tears draws my cream in long spurts that rack my body as the gutteral growl from my throat wraps into the sounds of his sobs. He swallows every drop, taking it down and absorbing it. His eyes lift and ache for mine. I reach down and stroke his cheek, saying gruffly,
I smile down at him, ease out of his mouth and hug him to me. He reaches up and hold on, soaking in who he is, a boy on his knees, held by the man standing over him, the man he just pleased. Proud.”
After that moment, they go have a scene at a public dungeon and the language has shifted completely, where both characters are moving their bodies, the bodies are not doing it by themselves anymore:
“I drive my bootheel into the bruises on his thigh. I ram my elbow into the bruises on his pecs. He grunts, clenching his jaw. He’s not sure he can do it, but he’ll never admit it.
“Yes, Sir, I can take it,” he spits out, glaring at me, promising himself as much as me.”
“Nervous Boy” was one of the first I got published, which I know led at least one other editor to personally solicit my work, because he mentioned this story in particular. Not all editors hate IBP. The editor who printed this story and the one who sought my work because of it are both well known, very prolific erotica editors.
In “Please”, printed in Best Women’s Erotica 2008, a femme dyke picks up a transguy at a bar and bottoms to him in the bathroom. At one of the early peaks of this scene, she is struggling and not sure she can take it. (It being rough sex.) His hand anchors her, connects her to him, helps her stay with it. So, in this passage, it acts on it’s own:
“He bent me over the sink, unzipped his fly, slid on a condom, and then he was there, deep inside, in one quick thrust. The porcelein was cold against my nipples, and I was shakily gripping the sink, trying to stay balanced, but all I could feel was his cock. It was the hardest thickest cock I had ever been fucked with. I was biting my lip trying to keep quiet, and it was a losing battle.
I felt so full, and he just kept driving into me. The invasion was intense. Every time my cunt contracted it felt like it was too much, like I couldn’t take it I was stuffed too full of him. I started holding my breath to keep from screaming. The pounding in my cunt matched the pounding in my head until I felt like I was going to pass out. His hand was in my hair, pulling my head back, and I could feel his breath on my neck as he spoke to me.
I did. I breathed in and I felt my pelvis tilt just a bit, and then he was slamming into my cervix. His hand was still gripping my hair as he kept hitting my cervix just right and I knew I was going to come. I took my own fist into my mouth and I bit down to keep from screaming as I spasmed around his massive girth. He was still there, still so hard inside me. His hand still twisted in my hair, pulling it in these rythmic pulses that felt just like sex. It was too much. I couldn’t take it. I started to beg.”
Here is another example. “It’s My Job”, which was printed in Hot Daddies, centers a fetish for leather, with a long luxurious scene where a boy gets up close to his Daddy’s leather in multiple ways, and is objectified by his Daddy throughout the scene. In that context, the boy’s body acts on it’s own (and is brought in line by his Daddy). And, given the leather fetish, boots as an active partner in the play, and the boy being attuned to the boot he is not licking, makes sense:
“His other boot comes to rest on the back of my neck, driving my mouth into his boot, making me writhe, my cock pulsing as it rubs against the floor. Daddy groans as I press my mouth onto the toe, taking it in like a cock, sucking on it. His other boot forces me onto it in a rhythm of his choosing, as I strain to take him in.
“Your mouth feels so good, boy. Now pay some attention to the other one.”
I lunge for the other boot, taking the toe into my mouth immediately, my cock thrusting into the floor as I work my mouth onto it. The first boot slides between my legs and drives into my balls.
“The only dick that matters here is mine, boy. Daddy’s dick is the one to focus on.””
When his Daddy tells him to lick up his chaps to his cock, the leather fetish means that makes sense that the leather-clad legs and gloved hand act almost of their own accord:
“My sole purpose in life is to please Daddy with my mouth. I open my mouth wider, licking intently along the leather of his chaps. My head between his calves, I writhe on the floor, intent on savoring every inch. I lick up to the knee on one and then switch legs, worshipping with luxurious strokes of my tongue. I can feel myself flying, airy. It is trancelike, and yet I’m completely focused. He groans when my mouth reaches the back of his knee, and his other leg clamps down onto my head, holding my mouth there as I continue to stroke him with my tongue.
“That’s Daddy’s good boy. Use that tongue. Make Daddy happy. Your mouth feels so damn good, boy.”
His leg releases me, and I continue my journey up his thighs. Muscle shifts in response to my tongue. His hand snakes down and grips my hair before stroking my head. My cheek is against his leather jock. I can smell him. I am in heaven.”
Here is another example. Near the end of “Lucky”, which was first printed in Best Women’s Erotica 2009, a femme dyke bottoms to a half dozen other queer folks of various genders, and as that scene crescendos, she is surrounded by all of them, disappears into her body, and they all become connected. While throughout the story, all parties are linked to the actions of their bodies, in that moment, it’s just bodies and her taking them all in:
“I came, screaming and gagging around his cock as it rammed into my throat. My nipples were pinched, hands stroked my skin. I was covered in sex, dripping with it, on display for all. I joyously thrust back against the cock reaming my ass. I felt so lucky. The orgasm washed over me as it built and built and I began to fly, weightless, soaring on pleasure.”
One last example. My story “First Time Since”, which was printed in Hurts So Good and won honorable mention for the NLA John Preston Short Fiction Award, is about a dominant who is coming out of mourning for his last D/s relationship. The story uses his boots as a symbol for his dominance that he is struggling to reclaim, and they act on their own throughout most of it:
It begins with this:
“My dress boots rested in a neat line on the top of the bookcase. And waited. It had been months since I wore anything but my work boots. Months since they were taken down to be cared for by a loving hand. Months since my slave asked to be released. They waited.”
Later in the first part of the story, the theme is elaborated:
“Rebuilding came first. Reclaiming all the tasks I delegated to him. All of the opportunities for service that I created led to this sense that we were one unit—interdependent. So I began to take them back. From the preparation of food, to putting away my clothes precisely as I require. From keeping my glass full to shaving my head every week.
But not my boots. They gathered dust as I tried to imagine feeling powerful enough, strong enough, whole enough to wear them. They were patient. More patient than I was with this grieving.”
Late in the story, his boots begin to transform:
“I closed my eyes, feeling his hands on my boot and his breath against my cock. I could feel my boots springing to life as I casually stroked his face, my hand sliding against his lips. I breathed in slowly, feeling my dominance rising, a bittersweet sensation, and gripped my hand over his mouth, my eyes on his. His hands stilled on my boot, as I covered his airways, taking his breath. I watched that life surge, felt it against my palm, and held him, bringing him stillness. I released his breath and watched his eyes go starry as he found that lovely serene place. Then his hands resumed blacking my boot. I savored it, feeling myself surge, as I saw reverence fill him.”
The boy he plays with at the end of the story never becomes fully human and real in his eyes. As his boots come to life, he takes more charge of his own actions and body, while the boy continues to be (consensually) a symbol and an object, a tool to bring him back to life. So it makes sense that the boy’s body continues to be the one that acts, in the perspective of the dominant:
“I ground the sole of my boot into his back, using the heel to drive his mouth deeper into the leather, savoring the feel of a man on the floor under my boot. I could feel myself surging as his tongue stroked me, and I picked up and slammed my heel into his back, hearing his moan around my boot. I growled and rammed into his back, driving the heel in where I knew it was the sharpest, grabbing a yelp from him. I could see his hips thrusting into the floor, and I laid my boot heel on his lower back just above his ass, sliding the side of the boot into his crack as I wrapped his hair round my hand pushing his mouth into my boot until I had his breath again. His ass shuddered under my boot and I watched him come, waiting to release his breath until it was over. His arms wrapped around my boot as he sobbed, and I stroked his hair lightly.”
Like any tool, IBP can be used badly, overused, and grate when the entire genre is taken over by overuse. That doesn’t mean we throw it out though. Or at least I don’t.
I do get concerned about how to use it and communicate full active consent to the reader, as that is one of the things I personally want in all my work. (I’ve written about that here.) Body parts moving on their own imply lack of choice, so I try to be careful how I use this tool, as consent is a deep value of mine.